Business Breakfast: The Reforestation of Deserts: Perspectives for Wood in the Value Chain and Urban Development | REPORT | Full Video!

In cooperation with its member Forliance, a consultancy firm specializing in sustainable land-use projects and climate strategies, the EMA organized a Business Breakfast to discuss the afforestation/reforestation of deserts and the perspectives for a sustainable value chain of timber with representatives of relevant industries and academic experts. The Business Breakfast shed light on the scarcity of resources and the necessity of thinking ahead for an economically and socially sustainable future. The presentation of a vivid case study example made the event highly interactive and fostered discussions – with networking opportunities being an integral part of the event.

Cooperation Essential for Recultivation of Arid Areas to Succeed

Benno Fuchs (Sales Manager, Climate Solutions) presented the activities of Forliance before Michael Sahm (Director, Climate Strategy) dived deep into the concerned topics and highlighted an existing afforestation project in Egypt. Recultivating arid areas in the Mediterranean and Middle East region, which has a different ecosystem and different challenges than other parts of the world, should be considered a priority. Mr. Sahm emphasized the importance of cooperation in this field to succeed and stressed that only through collaboration can we achieve sustainable development. He stressed this value by further explaining the importance of research with partners to find ways to recultivate the desert and create social, economic, and environmental added value.

The participants – among them CEOs and managers from relevant industries as well as scientists – actively engaged in the discussion by sharing their thoughts and expertise on these issues. One of them was the initiator of the overall afforestation program in Egypt itself, who shared his insights into the progress of his initiative.

The Case of Egypt: A Sustainable Supply Chain for Timber-Based Products

Mr. Sahm spoke about the afforestation of certain tree types in Egypt’s arid areas. Through pre-treated sewage water the production of timber-based products becomes ecologically feasible. This helps to generate additional income from timber, wooden biomass, energy crops, and carbon trading. Some of the positive effects are the prevention of desertification and erosion, enhancing soil and water conditions, cooling effects for nearby urban settlements, as well as regional industrialization.

The Carbon Markets

Refocusing on the issue of sustainable value chains, Mr. Sahm raised the topic of the carbon market as a mechanism to fight climate change and to achieve an economic-environmental equilibrium: “Only if we can improve social conditions and economic ones, we will serve the climate and the environment”. Every soil type absorbs carbon dioxide and stores it. This being an incredible asset for the global ecosystem and something to monetize, it gives the possibility of issuing carbon certificates for those who want to offset their carbon footprint – from individuals to multinational companies. This innovative incentive promotes environmental actions and the enhancement of afforestation, and it can also be an additional source of income for people living in arid regions.